Prison Tycoon a real game?

If you do a Google search for “Prison Tycoon”, this site comes up as the second link. The first link goes to a page at Amazon that suggests that Prison Tycoon is a soon-to-be-released title from ValuSoft. I don’t see any information about the forthcoming game at the ValuSoft site.
UPDATE: comments for this entry are closed. Please see Prison Tycoon sneak peak and More Prison Tycoon notes for more information about this game.

I came up with my version of the Prison Tycoon game while considering the legitimacy of independent games. That was a little over a year ago, when there was a lot of excitement in the air, excitement about the new challenges facing the industry, excitement about the growth of the games market, particularly a lot of hype about the number of handheld devices coming out, excitement about new academic programs where students could study “computer games”, and excitement about new opportunities for game designers, independent games, political games, games without frontiers.
I concluded at the time that the only meaningful place for independent games to distinguish themselves from the “mainstream” game industry is in subject matter. Independent games could offer radical ideas, they could deal with political issues, they could tell you something. The American prison system seemed like a potentially good subject for an independent game. Simulation games offer fertile ground for political commentary — turf that remains largely untouched by the endless stream of titles in Wright’s “Sims” franchise.
I once tried to put a Sim family in prison. I built small, austere rooms with uncomfortable beds. There was a common area, but the prisoners were blocked in by tables, and on the other side of the table the prison guards were responsible for serving meals. Very quickly the prisoners became “uncomfortable” and unhappy. I’m sure other people tried this as well.
A real prison simulation could comment on the gritty details of prison life. But do you only make it a spreadsheet simulation, where “prisoner happiness” is a function of cell space multiplied by various “happiness factors”, or do you address the hard problems, like trying to rehabilitate prisoners while fighting against economic pressure to run a more efficient facility?
Most likely, the ValuSoft version of Prison Tycoon will be a watery satire, combining the Tycoon game structure with a wacky representation of the penal system. I imagine something dreadful, a la Monte Cristo’s “Factory Mogul”, in which you compete against the computer AI to produce the most technologically sophisticated toilet you can and sell it for the best price.
I’ll have to wait til June 27 to find out.

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16 Responses to “Prison Tycoon a real game?”
  1. Ritz Grimarren says:

    I purchased Prison Tycoon over the weekend.
    The theme of the game is to build up a prison from scatch. It involves a very hard budgeting balance that often leaves you broke for periods until your inmate population grows to a decent size.
    Throughout the game, you have to maintain a strong security level as well as activities for your inmates to reduce the amount of inmate boredom which turns to violence. Although it’s fun to watch 60+ inmates beating the hell out of eachother, inmate deaths cost you big bucks and is best avoided. Also, the more activities and work the inmate does, the more likely the inmate will go straight when released, which means bonus money for you.
    There is no research in the game, but there are mulitple levels of inmates and security. I haven’t been able to yet, but you can build facilities to house more and more dangerous criminals. The top level available is the Maximum security which is death row inmates.
    My main complaint about Prison Tycoon is that it lacks a tutorial and the manual is worthless. You pretty much have to figure out whats going on and how to do things by yourself. It’s taken me two days to finally get a prison going that can support itself. Very annoying.
    -Ritz Grimarren-

  2. Geno says:

    How do i get it free

  3. some says:

    BITTORENTS!!!!!!!Download ABC go to and lookup Prison Tycoon find download it. Wait the three hours then you have cracked with a great compression!

  4. de.Generaal says:

    I have Prison Tycoon for 2 days. I’m doing well, earning big money etc. But how the hell can i build some medium and high risk buildings???

  5. de.Generaal says:

    I have Prison Tycoon for 2 days. I’m doing well, earning big money etc. But how the hell can i build some medium and high risk buildings???

  6. anfrew says:

    what do i have 2 do so i will start geting prissoners ? i can’t figure that out…pls help

  7. random dude says:

    im with anfrew
    i just cant figure it out

  8. Brandon says:

    I have posted some notes on the game here and here.
    I’m ready to conclude that there is no way, in the open scenarios, to advance to medium security and beyond. There are a number of unimplemented features, like the staff break room which never gets used, and I think whatever mechanism was supposed to trigger a promotion to medium security got dropped.

  9. Lynn says:

    How do you change views? Im tired of looking at the prison from one angle….is there anyway to get a 360 degree camera affect?

  10. moltar says:

    holding ctrl + moving move changes the view. and the q and z buttons change height.

  11. mike says:

    so if anybody figures out how to go from one security level to another……..lemme know thanks my email address is

  12. mike says:

    yeah nvm about what u just said…….i left for a while and i came back and i was on a different level. lol i had a bunch of money..i didnt cheat.. the rating of my prison was at 100% and i had 99 inmates…all that when i left and by the time i came back i earned i guess a different level

  13. Jason says:

    what do you have to do to start to get inmates in your prison? Everytime I setup a prison it always says that Since you have no cells you cant accept prisoners. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. lee says:

    could u please tell me wot buttons r wot and wot they r 4 on prison tycoon. i dont have any instructions at all with this game as i got it off ebay.or could u please send me a web site thAt i can get them off
    thank u from lee

  15. luisa scott says:

    I got up to medium security. I’m not sure how it happened though. It was either that i had more land after i purchased land management office 2&3 or because 6 of my prisoners escaped because i took all the guards away.

  16. morgan says:

    I hate this game every time i try to get inmates into my prison it won’t do anything i don’t know what to click on to get them in there even after i have the prison built perfect !! HELP ME!!!!!!